Old Town is sparkling in run up to Christmas season, Stevenage traders chorus

Marie Etienne, Andre Etienne Carpets, Stephen Harris, director Own Homes, Janet Kelly, Angels @ stag

Marie Etienne, Andre Etienne Carpets, Stephen Harris, director Own Homes, Janet Kelly, Angels @ stage door, and Margaret Notley, Malcolm Hammond Jewellers - Credit: Archant

Businesses are flourishing in Stevenage Old Town in the run up to Christmas, according to shopkeepers.

Lights on in the Old Town

Lights on in the Old Town - Credit: Archant

This year’s Christmas lights switch-on and lantern parade was attended by more people than last year and helped to promote a community spirit as well as benefiting businesses, says shopkeeper Marie Etienne.

The event was organised by the Stevenage Old Town Business and Community Partnership, which was established three years ago to promote the area.

Marie, who runs Andre Etienne Carpets and was one of the event’s organisers, said: “It all went very well. There were more people on the lantern parade than last year. Everybody enjoyed the carol singing and all the businesses got behind it.

“You can’t really quantify how successful it was but we set up the community partnership because we didn’t want the High Street to die.

“This is why we started it up three years ago and we’ve done it off our own backs to keep the Old Town going.

“This was definitely the best year we have had and more people are still coming on board.

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“We have a great community spirit here and we can keep building it to make it even more successful than it already is.”

Her bouyant view was shared by Kelly Stevens, who has owned boutique So Unique since August last year. She said: “The feedback has been great. The lantern parade was really special and it just brought back that feeling about the true meaning of Christmas and it has definitely helped trade.

“A lot of the shops have been running a Spot The Error competition where there will be something in each shop’s window that they don’t sell.

“People come up and look at the display which encourages them to come in.

“The town has got such a nice feel about it and anything we can do to support each other is positive.”